Having previously reported on Google’s argument that WiFi communications are akin to radio transmissions — and therefore public — under the Wiretap Act, we now find that Google lost that argument and is appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Mediapost reports:
[The District Court] rejected Google’s argument that its activities were lawful because the transmissions it intercepted were not password-protected.
Now, in a rare move, Google is attempting to appeal Ware’s ruling before the case proceeds any further. The company argues that the wiretap law, which dates to 1986 — well before the era of WiFi networks — needs to be interpreted by an appellate court.
Where Google’s position is that non-password-protected transmissions (in this case WiFi transmissions) do not have the requisite expectation of privacy to be protected under the Wiretap Act, consumers are firing back that “the WiFi networks were not publicly accessible, in part because interpreting them requires special software.” The 9th Cir’s decision (and perhaps an appeal to the Supreme Court) will ultimately dictate policy on WiFi interception.
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